May 30, 2009
First Russian space walker turns 75
Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space, marked his 75 birthday Saturday with a telegram from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
You belong to the eminent corps of Russia's first cosmonauts, Dmitry said, calling Leonov a man of the
highest professionalism and personal courage.
Leonov, twice honored as a Hero of the Soviet Union, was one of 20 Russian air force pilots selected as the first cosmonaut group in 1960, Itar-Tass reported Saturday.
He made his historic 12-minute, 9-second space walk March 18, 1965 and in July 1975 commanded a Soyuz spacecraft that docked with NASA's Apollo space capsule in the first joint flight of the U.S. and Russian space programs.